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Van Winkle


Van Winkle

(BC Archives: H-00263)
Van Winkle Pioneers
(BC Archives: H-00263)
A successful claim named Van Winkle was located on a bar of the lower Fraser near Lytton during the Cariboo Gold Rush. A Creek of the same value was named after this claim and a town developed where it entered Lightning Creek.

This was the first settlement on Lightning Creek and by the summer of 1862 Van Winkle was booming. The town had the privilege of a post office, the Bishop of Columbia came in August to preach on Sundays, there were saloons, hotels, gambling houses, shoe makers, blacksmiths, and bakers.

Description by Bishop Hills:

"Every portion of the stream and its banks is taken up, and each Company is engaged in some preparation ... making wheel pumps, sluice boxes, or sinking shafts into the bed rock. Tunneling into the hillsides, a few feature of the mines, is expected to provide employment through the long winter."

A Traveller's description:

"Van Winkle lies in a valley shut in on all sides by high hills, with Lightning Creek running through the centre; you have the sun for only a few hours of the day. The town (every place with a dozen huts in it is a "town" here) is one street of wooden stores, restaurant, bakery, etc, and a bit of a place with "Dr. Kennedy, Surgeon", on a plate. On the side of the hill to the right is the Government encampment consisting of a few tents. we slept in a log cabin with some miners, one of whom was an old man named Noble, who has worked his claim two seasons. Went to service twice..." Harry Guillod Journal.

Van Winkle survived as a town until 1885, when a bypassing road was built from Stanley to Barkerville.

CamerontownGold Claims

Last updated December 1st, 1998.
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